By Babita Ambekar
Almost everywhere that you travel in the world you will come across a person of Indian origin. We look different, speak different languages and eat different food. Our thoughts and beliefs are shaped by our upbringing and environment, which is highly diverse and evolves from generation to generation.
Some of us have never experienced life in India. We read about it in books, hear stories from our elders about the way that life used to be and watch a Bollywood movie every now and then. Others travel to India a couple of times a year or have a second home there and are fully conversant with the latest trends.
The Indian Diaspora is estimated at over 25 million people globally and is the result of hundreds of years of outbound migration. It is more diverse than you can imagine yet, despite its diversity, it represents a global force to be reckoned with. People of Indian origin can be found in all walks of life and with their multiple talents and capabilities, contribute immeasurably to developments in science, technology, medicine, law, the arts, sports, business and many other fields. The Diaspora is part of India’s legacy to the world.
Despite our varied backgrounds and upbringing, there are fundamental aspects that bind us together. Our philosophy embraces all forms of diversity and ably accommodates our differences because the core principles of humanity that form the essence of our way of life are one and the same. This philosophy has enabled us to consistently contribute to the societies in which we live and must continue as our contributions as ‘global citizens’ will be invaluable for years to come.
In tandem with our contributions to the societies that we live in, it is now time for us to look toward the land of our origin. Prime Minister Modi is known to adopt a people-centric approach to governance and it is his belief that the Diaspora will be key to India’s future. Let us leverage our multiple languages, varied approaches and the skills that we have adopted from our home countries. Let us celebrate our diversity and the strength that it gives us to contribute to the vision of India that we now see is possible. Let us be selfless in our goals: the India that we help to re-create is the India that our children will experience and their children in time to come. At the same time, let us continue to enrich the countries where we live with our talent, spirit and uniquely entrepreneurial nature.
Remember, Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, meaning the ‘world is one family’, is a quintessentially Indian philosophy. Live it, breathe it and take it to the four corners of the world and back!
(Babita Ambekar is an English lawyer and resides in Singapore. An adaption of an article published in 2015 in the official souvenir of “Singapore Welcomes Modi”, reproduced with the kind permission of the Singapore NRI Forum.)